Community Update

Digital Empowerment Toolkit Now Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits aim to provide the resources you need to advance your social change work.

We are excited to introduce our Digital Empowerment Trainers’ Toolkit, a dynamic resource to help you bring the benefits of connecting online to women in your community. Check it out today! »



Where food is no longer eaten for positive reasons like pleasure and the maintenance of physical health. But used as a weapon to avoid negative experiences and a way of coping with problems. New Zealand research of 15 year olds showed that although 75% were healthy weights 68% of all girls wanted to lose weight. 54% of girls reported that they are dieting and have done so since they were about 13 years old.

An eating disorder is present when a person:

· Is constantly thinking about eating or not eating

· feels out of control around food

· Uses food to meet needs other than hunger

· Becomes obsessed about food, weight and body shape.

It can affect anyone of any weight.

The four main types are as follows:

· Anorexia Nervosa

· Bulimia nervosa

· Bing Eating


The high risk groups are young women with a low or high BMI who have weight concerns, menstrual disturbance, GI disorders or psychological problems.

DSM-IV Anorexia Nervosa

A. Low weight of less than 85% of the expected weight for their age and height.

B. Intense fear of weight gain or becoming fat.

C. Body image disturbances such as becoming unduely influenced by body weight/shape on self-evaluation and denying the seriousness of low weight.

Binging is:

Objective and eating more than most people would and lacking control

Subjective: Eating more than most people would (perceived only by patient) and lack of control.

Triggers include

Anxiety disorders (OCD)
Family relationship problems
Emotional deregulation

Signs to watch for:

Dramatic weight loss
Wearing loose, bulky clothes
Preoccupation with food-dieting, counting calories
Refusal to eat certain foods-fats/ carbs
Avoiding meal times
Exercising excessively.


delphine criscenzo's picture

I know what you mean!

Hello Annz,
Thank you for your post! Eating disorders are so common in the Western world these days and it not often that they are talked about or debated as real issues of our society. I myself have a food addiction and I need to refrain myself from eating as a coping mechanism.
It is ironic to have women starving in some countries and others wanting to diet though they are at healthy weights. It is also disturbing to see that in the United States, obesity and hunger are interconnected. It seems that poor people have access to the least healthy food and therefore have the highest risks of becoming obese.
Again thanks for starting up a conversation around the issues of eating disorders!

Delphine Criscenzo

Annz11's picture

Yeah its a taboo subject

No-one really wants to know about it. I've had several run in's with the mental health system because I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anyway, during one of my stays "inside" I met a young woman who was Anorexic. Getting to know her was a HUGE eye-opener for me. I've also had run in's with eating dis-orders myself. It's NOT fun.

The extremes of wealth and poverty make my blood boil. We produce enough food to feed the world 3 times over (probably more by now), so NO-ONE should be starving. Many moons ago a friend told me about her stay in a third world country. She said she was staying in a flash expensive place several stories up, so she could see over a high wall and the view shocked her. There was a poverty stricken slum right over the other side of the wall, "hiding" in plain sight.

Yes it's "disturbing to see that in the United States, obesity and hunger are interconnected", but I'm not suprised.

Eating disorders are among the Western world's illnesses. Our obsession with fashion and warped body image perception are major contributors. As is the stress of actually living in the west. Our lives are complicated and driven by greed (etc). We need to learn how to keep our lives simple, focusing on what we NEED, rather than what we think we want. Why can't we go back to basics?

Many people blame technology, which is right.... (to a point)..... but I see it as a cop-out to avoid accountability. The Western world is rapidly going bankrupt, its only a matter of time before the world as we know it collapses and self-destructs. Is that a good or a bad thing? I'm not sure. Perhaps its a blessing in disguise and an opportunity to build something better. While there's life there's hope, so lets not give up and walk away. Our future, especially the future of our children is worth fighting for. Let's show our youth that their lives matter and are important to us, before its too late to selvage something for them to inherit. I think one of the BIGGEST problems facing our youth is they're NOT stupid, they know what's going on in the world around them, and are thus living without hope of having any future at all.

True Unity Accepts Diversity

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Blog »

Read the latest from World Pulse headquarters

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative